WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
THE CONVERGENCE OF BRAND AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE DRIVEN MARKETING.
So, what is customer experience? Can you change or create a better customer experience? Also known as CX (but that sounds a bit crap to me. In my mind, the CX will always be the wonderful space age 70’s Citroen CX, which I love. It was rich in quirky experience, so maybe CX abbreviation will grow on me.)
Customer experience should move you emotionally, pull you into a into a new world that you can’t help but feel, see, taste, hear and smell. It’s empathetic in nature and aspirational in aim. While rife with challenges, customer experience represents a life-saving opportunity for all businesses to earn relevance among a new generation of more connected customers, seeking differentiation in what, why and how they consume; who wish to be engaged, be excited and stimulated not just ‘told and sold’ by the advertising agencies. A consumer that is incredibly well informed and enlightened and increasingly self-educated. A consumer that is skeptical of the ‘truth’. Conscious of what is manufactured in order to manipulate and coerce them into consuming and believing. A consumer that has a very real and active voice online, sharing their experiences and advocating brands that they believe in.
Don’t think for one minute that this is just a consumer marketing thing. It applies as much to B2B as it does B2C. For the sake of argument, lets call this B&C (link to B&C blog article). In my experience, seeing the results is massively worth the effort of standing out from your competitor dullards in B2B.
So what are the main components when improving customer experience marketing?
Number one is still Brand (with a huge ***k off ‘B’). A fundamental story and purpose that the company or product is based on. Consider Coca-Cola and BMW. They always know what their brand stands for and appreciate the need to embrace the zeitgeist. Electric cars that drive like a BMW or healthier alternatives to high sugar drinks. Clear, solid and oh so right on.
Number two is ‘The Brand Experience’. The Brand is established, and now it gets communicated through a range of channels – paid media, websites, product offers, tag lines. A print campaign is as much a component of the brand as the call centre and content marketing. All external and internal communication works toward creating the brand experience and need to be considered, designed and proven for consistency no matter the touch point, no mater how trivial.
Number three is ‘Customer Experience’. Customer experience has to be a sub-component of the brand experience, the operative word for the “customer.” Here you are defining and maintaining the experience of people who are already aware of you. These people have the power to give you repeat business and become your loyal brand advocates, which is immensely powerful stuff these days. It is heinously overlooked in the main, but embraced by the successful organisations.
Number four. (The chomping at the bit excited horse ready to race) is marketing. Marketing (or maybe more appropriately termed ‘Marketing Activation’) is where you/we/them determine the placement of brand and customer experiences. Critically this depends on the steps above so that the marketing team is clear about what it is they are activating. If they aren’t, ambiguity rains down all over the place and marketing is ineffective and even destructive.
Improve Customer Experience. Most of the challenges I see when assessing clients issues are because the first three components in order are missed, poorly managed, irrelevant or don’t exist. You can’t skip over the first three stages if you want success. Get these in place properly and more of your particular market will be yours.